Toshiba 1TB 2.5″ SATA HDD Review – Model MQ01ABD100

Test Equipment

The following are the specifications of the
computer this product has been tested on.

Computer 1:

  • Crucial 2GB x 2 kit 240pin DDR3 PC3-8500
  • Kingston 4GB x 2 kit 240pin DDR3 PC3-8500
  • Gigabyte S1156 Intel P55 motherboard – GA-P55-UD4
  • Intel Core i5 Quad 750 2.66GHz 8MB cache
  • Antec Three Hundred Black Case
  • Sapphire HD4350 512MB PCIe DVI graphics card
  • Samsung Black DVD+/-RW SH-S223B SATA
  • Lite-On DVD+/-RW SOHW-1693S ATA
  • SanDisk Extreme 240GB SSD
  • Samsung F3 1TB 7200RPM HDD
  • Samsung F4EG 2TB 5400RPM HDD
  • WD RE4-GP 2TB 5400RPM HDD
  • Seagate 3TB 7200RPM HDD
  • Renesas PCIe x1 USB3 2-port (uPD720201)
  • Corsair 450W ATX PSU
  • Windows 7 64-bit Enterprise Edition SP1

Toshiba HDD was connected to the Intel native SATA 3Gbps port (#0) on our
review PC and all tests on the drive and comparison drives were carried out
using this port. AHCI mode was enabled on this port and all tests were carried
out in this mode. 

Comparison Hard Disks:

  • Samsung M7 320GB 2.5” 9.5mm 5400RPM, model
  • Samsung F3 1TB 7200RPM HDD, model HD103SJ

the Iometer tests, we also included hard disk test results from earlier

Test applications

To test the performance of the hard disk,
we will be using the following test applications in this review:

  • HD Tune Pro
  • HD Tach
  • ATTO
  • Iometer
  • CrystalDiskMark x64
  • FastCopy
  • (Various in-house batch file scripts)

Test procedures

Like our SSD reviews, we start off with a
few synthetic benchmarks on the Toshiba 1TB HDD. Despite how much SSD
technology has moved on in the last couple of years, hard disks remain popular
due to their low cost and vast storage capacity, and are often used in addition
to an SSD to store bulky files that do not need the vast performance SSDs have
to offer. For example, when playing music and video content, the hard disk just
needs to be quick enough to read the content without causing drop-outs. A hard
disk with good optimisation in its firmware should be able to do this even when
other read/write options are taking place such as a scheduled virus scan
operation running in the background.

As most users running Windows generally
format an internal hard disk with the NTFS file system, all our real-world
tests will be conducted with the hard disk formatted in NTFS. Before these
tests are conducted, the hard disk is split up into 4 partitions, the first
filling 50% of the capacity, a second filling another 25% of the capacity, a third
filling another 15% of the capacity and the fourth using the remaining 10%. 
The purpose of these partitions is to force the tests to take place at 4
different positions across the platter to simulate the hard disk being empty,
50% filled, 75% filled and 90% filled, respectively:

As we’ll see in the HD Tune and HD Tach
tests, the throughput declines across the hard disk’s capacity, which means
that if we only conduct our tests with a single large empty partition, we would
only end up testing the best case scenario, as all the data would be stored in
the fastest area of the hard disk.

For the real-world testing, we will test
the following:

  • Write a large 1GB file.
  • Copy this large 1GB file from the hard
    disk back to the same hard disk.
  • Read the 1GB file.
  • Write a large 1GB folder consisting of
    8,247 JPEG files in a hierarchy of 245 folders.
  • Copy this same file set from the hard
    disk back to the same hard disk.
  • Read this entire folder’s content.
  • Write a single folder containing 187 MP3
    files, totalling 987MB.
  • Copy this same file set from the hard
    disk back to the same hard disk.
  • Read all the MP3s in this folder.
  • Delete the complete photos folder.

All the above tests were conducted on each
of the partitions we created. 

We will also include a Samsung F3 7200RPM
1TB 3.5” desktop hard disk and a Samsung M7 5400RPM 320GB 2.5” mobile hard disk
in our real-world tests to compare against. The comparison desktop drive will give
an idea of how the Toshiba HDD compares with a popular equivalent size desktop
hard disk, such as for users interested in using a 2.5” HDD instead, either for
small form factor PC or to reduce energy consumption. The 320GB 2.5” comparison
HDD will give another comparison as to how the Toshiba HDD stacks up against the
typical size HDD preinstalled in laptops.

We chose a RAM drive as the file copying
source to minimise the latency as much as possible from the read source. For
the write tests, all files were copied with FastCopy in “Diff HDD Mode”. The
host IO cache was disabled for both read & write. The “Diff HDD Mode”
causes the read & write processes to run simultaneously in separate
threads. All read timings are measured by a script to an accuracy of 1/100th
of a second. The PC was rebooted prior to the read tests and again prior to the
delete tests to clear any cached data.

As FastCopy bypasses Windows’ read &
write IO cache, this gives accurate file copy timings. Windows Explorer and
many file copy utilities take advantage of the Windows cache, which means that
even though a copy operation appears to be completed quickly, the copied data
may still remain in the Windows cache (in RAM) for a while as it is written to
the hard disk in the background. With the FastCopy utility, the moment it says
it’s finished, there is no data waiting in RAM to be written. 

The purpose of the delete test is to show
how long it takes to delete a large folder, as this is usually quite a tedious

Disk Fragmentation testing procedure:

All hard disks will suffer from file
fragmentation over time, where files and file fragments are physically
scattered across hard disk’s platters. We create a scenario of scattered files by
randomly copying our 1GB of JPEG files set randomly mixed with 100 copied
folders, each containing 987MB of music. This process was carried out by a script
and the PC was then rebooted to clear the cache. While our test does not split
individual files in fragments, we achieve similar fragmentation by having the
set of files randomly scattered. For example, 100 files totalling 1GB randomly
scattered across the hard disk will take the equivalent amount of time to read
as a single 1GB file broken into 100 fragments and scattered across the same
hard disk. 

With our files randomly scattered on the
HDD, we then test the following:

  • Read the 1GB folder of 8,247 JPEG files. This is
    the equivalent to reading a single 1GB file split up into 8,247 fragments. 
  • Copy this 1GB folder back to the same hard disk.
  • Read the first folder containing 987MB of MP3
    files. This is the equivalent to reading a single 987MB file split up into 187
  • Copy this music folder back to the same hard
  • virus scan or backup is taking place, we ran a script in the background
    continuously reading MP3s from the hard disk as we carried out the following:
  • Read the copied folder of JPEG files (which are
    not fragmented.)
  • Read the 1GB folder of 8,247 scattered JPEG
    files. This is equivalent to multitasking with heavy disk fragmentation.
  • Read the copied folder of MP3 files (which are
    not fragmented.)
  • Read the last folder containing 987MB of MP3
    files. This is equivalent to multitasking with light to moderate disk

Like our earlier tests, the copy tests are
conducted with FastCopy and the read tests are conducted by a script. For the
tests where MP3s were being read continuously by a separate script, this second
script was started before the main read tests were initiated. The PC was
rebooted after each test to clear the Windows cache. 

Hard Disk information

The following shows information about the
Toshiba hard disk provided by CrystalDiskInfo:

As shown above, the hard disk supports
Advanced Power Management, Native Command Queuing and has a temperature

The following shows the available storage
capacity after we created an NTFS partition to completely fill the drive:

Now let’s head to the next page, where
we carry out some benchmarks…